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Eyes to the Skies

Morning Falcon Watch 2-8-16

February 8th, 2016

By Rochester Falcon Watcher MAK

The temperature was 37 (F)  3 (C) with overcast skies

As I made the U-turn on Seth Green Dr. to check the west and south sides of Seneca Towers I saw Billie perched on the west side railing.


I left her to go over to East Ridge Rd. and check the north and east sides-as usual, Seth was in his spot on the north window ledge.


Onward to downtown after a couple minutes with Seth. As I drove toward Broad St. on Exchange Blvd. I looked over at the north side of the Times Square building (TSB) and just barely spotted Beauty’s head on the northwest corner. I drove around to Basin St. in the hole to check her out-once there I noticed Dot.ca (DC) over on the north side railing of Widows Walk (WW).


I wasn’t there for long as I watched DC fly off at 8:03am heading northwest and when I looked, Beauty was gone as well.


I didn’t see anything at the Medley Centre when I checked. Watcher Dick,reported seeing Big Frank(ie) on the glass peak around 10:45am. That’s all she wrote-I ended my watch at 8:45am smiling after seeing Beauty, DC, Billie and Seth! :)

Click on the link below to see a very short snippet video of today’s short watch


Late A.M./Early P.M. Falcon Watch - 2/7/16

February 7th, 2016

By Rochester Falcon Watcher Carol P.

It was a super Sunday with temps in the 40’s, bright sunshine and a beautiful blue sky.

I found no falcons at the Brighton Site (BS).  I am starting to think that the unbanded female we have been seeing there, might have started her migration back to her own nest location.  Of course, now that I’ve said that, someone will probably see her again.  lol

No Falcons at Brighton Site 2/7/16

Downtown, I found Dot.ca on the Frontier Communication Tower.  From the Andrews St Bridge, I saw him fly from the platform to the top of the large white drum connected to the tower.  From the Hochstein parking lot I was just able to see the top of his head bobbing up and down.  He was eating leftovers up there.  After about 30 minutes, he stood up so that I could see his black band.

DC on FCT White Drum Eating -2-7-16DC on FCT White Drum Eating -2-7-16DC on FCT White Drum Eating -2-7-16

After finishing his small meal, he flew over to the northeast box, just below the platform.

DC on FCT NE Box -2-7-16DC on FCT NE Box -2-7-16DC on FCT NE Box -2-7-16

Dot.ca took off heading southeast.  When he didn’t return, I tried to find him.  After checking around downtown, I returned to the Andrews St Bridge.  From there I could see that DC had returned to the NE box on the Frontier Communication Tower.  I was happy to see that Beauty was now on the north side of the OCSR on the top IBeam.  All was peaceful and quiet downtown, so I continued my watch.

Beauty on OCSR from ASB -2-7-16DC on FCT NE Box -2-7-16

Both Billie and Seth were at Seneca Towers on the north end window ledge.  They both did some flying before settling.

Billie and Seth at ST -2-7-16

I ended my watch after finding no falcons at Medley Ctr or Russell Station.  I was happy to have found 4 of our Rochester Falcons, all doing well.

Morning Falcon Watch 2-7-16

February 7th, 2016

By Rochester Falcon Watcher MAK

It was a brisk 27 (f) -3 (C) degrees with blue skies and sunshine

Today’s watch was all about our downtown pair Beauty and Dot.ca (DC) as I didn’t see any other Peregrine Falcons at either Seneca Towers or the Medley Centre.  Once I got downtown on the Andrews St. bridge (ASB) I spotted DC on the northeast corner of the Crossroads building. I drove to Graves St. where it meets Main St. right across the street from OCSR.


He did a lot of preening while I watched him up there and at 8:12am he flew off the back off Crossroads toward the Frontier Communications tower (FCT).


I drove over to FCT and found that DC was indeed over there on the large drum eating fast and furious. The fact that he wasn’t plucking feathers told me it was cached food.


At 8:18am Beauty flew in and DC took off with his leftovers. At first they were circling above me in the Hochstein School of Music parking lot then they went their separate ways with DC heading southeast toward OCSR and Beauty  disappearing behind City Place to the south.


I drove to the Times Square area and came upon the Beautyful one on the railing near the northeast corner of Widows Walk (WW). She was preening and picking at her talons so I surmised that she had been eating before she came on the scene. I pulled into the parking lot next to Times Square to observe her.


Beauty flew off after a few minutes and ended up over on the base of Mercury eating. I wish I had seen if the food was left there or if she got it from DC as I was turned the wrong way to see. I didn’t see DC around the immediate area as I crossed Exchange Blvd. to the hole parking lot to watch her.


With the sun behind her it wasn’t very good back lighting so I drove up on the Broad St. bridge where it was great but Beauty had her back to me for the most part. I checked out the river and found gulls from the north side of the bridge on the only rocks that were above the surface of the water for perching. On the south side of the bridge the flat rocks were completely covered and the mighty Genesee River was churning down through the locks and beyond.


Beauty turned to show me her side as she was pulling feathers out of her cache.


I left her at 9am and planned to go straight to the Medley Centre but I had to stop and pull into the parking lot next to Times Square when I almost got blinded by the bright white of DC on the northeast corner of Widows Walk.


I ended my watch when I got home to Seneca Towers at 9:35am. It’s a natural reaction to smile when watching falcons-something I do on a regular basis! :)

Click on the link below to see today’s snippets


Saturday Afternoon Falcon Watch - 2/6/16

February 6th, 2016

By Rochester Falcon Watcher Carol P.

It was very cold and lightly snowing when I started my watch.  But the sun finally  broke through making it bearable.  Always good to see the sun!

During my watch I found only two falcons, Beauty and Dot.ca.  They were together on the north side of the OCSR on the top IBeam.  Both were napping, preening and looking around.  Both had full crops.  So, Beauty must have found her leftovers from this morning, or maybe had another successful hunt.  lol

DC and Beauty on North Side OCSR -2-6-16DC and Beauty on North Side OCSR -2-6-16

Dot.ca on OCSR -2-6-16Beauty on OCSR -2-6-16

I checked out all the other Rochester Falcon locations but struck out at the Brighton Site, Seneca Towers, Medley Ctr and Russell Station.

I ran into fellow watcher Dana and we decided to check out the gorge across the river from Seneca Towers.  We hoped to find Billie and Seth there, but had no luck finding them.

We did find this very cool nest in one of the trees.  Any ideas what type of bird would use this nest?  We thought may be a Robin.

Nest near Genesee River -2-6-16

Morning Falcon Watch/ Dot.ca strikes again 2-6-16

February 6th, 2016

By Rochester Falcon Watcher MAK

The temperature was 31 (F) -1 (C) with a brisk cold wind and an occasional snow flake

I got to start my day with Billie and Seth, who were on the north window ledge of Seneca Towers when I arrived on E. Ridge Rd. They were on opposite ends facing each other. Seth still has the yellow tape on his right leg band.


They seemed quite settled so I left for downtown after 20 minutes or so. When I arrived on the Andrews St. bridge (ASB) I spotted the bright white of Dot.ca (DC) on the top I-beam northeast side of OCSR. I drove over to Bragdon Place to get closer to him. He was looking around the area and preening a bit when he suddenly spotted something to the southeast and flew off in a hurry at 8:03am.


It was like Beauty had rung the dinner bell, for when I got to the east side I found Beauty on a northeast corner of Legacy Tower (LT) plucking feathers and DC was on the opposite northeast corner watching her. I went to Elm St. first to observe them.


The Beautyful one had her back to me from there so I whipped over to E. Broad St. and parked right below Midtown. You just knew that DC was going to go over and try to steal food from her.


He bided his time and then flew over right next to Beauty at about 8:23am and a couple minutes later he bagged his first chunk of meat. I was taping at the time so there’s no pics of it.


After DC finished that piece he went back behind where I could only see his tail feathers sticking out over the edge from time to time. He managed to get another little morsel and when he was finished with that he came back out into view and got right in her face. Beauty gave him the stink-eye and after a minute or so he took another chunk.


They were eating together but he was not done -oh no, he wanted the whole pigeon to himself! When he finished eating the tidbit that he had he went over right in front of her and grabbed the prey. She wasn’t letting go and he kind of dragged her right off the edge as he wasn’t letting go either.


There was a lot of vocalization as they went spiraling downward, both of them with talons locked on the prize. It looked like a Peregrine windmill going round and round over Clinton Ave. They were about 3 stories above ground when I lost sight of them behind the Midtown building. WOW!! I was excited and  scared at the same time, hoping they gave up before crashing to the ground. I tweeted it out, then drove straight down Broad St. to the Broad St. bridge as I could see Beauty under the northeast wing of the Times Square building (TSB) from the traffic light at Clinton and Broad. I went straight to the hole where I spotted DC to the back of TSB on the north side with the food.


The sun came out and landed on Beauty but DC was in the shadows. I drove across to the parking lot next to TSB for a closer look at DC but ended up back in the hole where the view was actually better as DC filled his crop and Beauty watched her breakfast disappear one bite at a time.


DC finally had his fill and came out close to the edge-a wing from what was left of the pigeon was sticking up. You could tell he was thinking about where he was going to go and then at 9:24am he flew off with the remains to the northwest.


Beauty remained under the northeast wing so I left to check the Medley Centre. I didn’t see anything there and ended my watch there at 9:50am. While the Rochester Peregrine Falcons always make me smile, DC manages to make me laugh out loud! :)

Click on the links below to see the food antics of DC aka food thief and snippets from today’s watch





Morning Falcon Watch 2-5-16

February 5th, 2016

By Rochester Falcon Watcher MAK

There were a few snow showers on and off with a strong wind and a temperature of 29 (F) -2 (C)

After not seeing a falcon at Seneca Towers (ST) it wasn’t until an hour into my watch that I finally found a falcon but as I was driving around downtown I came across a Cooper’s Hawk on the east side roof of the Strong Museum of Play. I would have liked to see the front of this hawk but I wanted to find a falcon.


So on my way back from the east side of the Genesee River I spotted Dot.ca (DC) on the Mercury money bag. I drove down to Bank Place where it meets Aqueduct St. in the hole.


After a few minutes, Beauty appeared on the top I-beam southeast side of OCSR. For the most part she had her head tucked back into her wing and seemed to be napping, but she did look up a couple times.


I left the Beautyful one and DC right where I found them to head to the Medley Centre-I found nothing there so I moved on to Seneca Towers. As I pulled over on East Ridge Rd. I spotted Billie on the north end roof and she was eating. The wind was giving her a hard time as she almost got blown off the roof a couple times.


This big girl changed her spot and moved her meal but still the wind was making it difficult for her so she snatched what looked like a pigeon, flew down the east side and around the south end of the building out of view.


When I got over to Seth Green Dr. I first saw Buffalo Billie below the railing on the southwest corner and Seth around the corner from her on the south window ledge.


I then drove to my parking lot for closer viewing-Billie continued to eat and Seth was keeping an eye on a bunch of noisy sparrows that had gathered in a bush across from me. Larry reported seeing a falcon at the Brighton site and it was also reported that Beauty and DC had been at the Powers building nest box around 7:30am.


I watched for a few minutes and then headed in to my apartment, ending my watch at 10:40am. Oh, and I was smiling! :)

Click on the links below to see today’s snippets


Morning Falcon Watch 2-4-16

February 4th, 2016

By Rochester Falcon Watcher MAK

The weather was changeable this morning with wind, rain, sleet and snow and a temperature of 39 (F) 4 (C)

I started my day with Billie and Seth at the north end of Seneca Towers. She was on the northwest corner with her back to me and he was on his north window ledge.


It suddenly started to rain and sleet with the wind blowing it right at me and my camera so I started wiping it off and Seth decided to fly off at that time. Billie watched him head down in the gorge and then she too flew off.


I left for downtown where I found Beauty on the top I-beam northeast side-with the wind and rain coming from the southeast she was well protected there. I was on Bragdon St. and could see the south side ledge of the OCSR elevator shaft where our beloved falcons are very well protected-Dot.ca was there with his back to me.



I didn’t stick around for long as I had stuff to do. I checked the Medley Centre but didn’t see a falcon. I ended my watch at 8:34am. Watcher Dick reported seeing Big Frank at the Medley Centre around 11am, Larry reported seeing a falcon at the Brigthon site at 4:30pm and in the afternoon I saw Seth dive bomb a Red-tailed Hawk down in the gorge from my living room window at Seneca Towers. No contact was made like the last time and the hawk landed in a tree on the west side of the gorge. As I was coming home from walking Bella I saw Billie on the southeast corner railing. That’s all there is and there ain’t no more. As usual, our falcons put a smile on my face! :)

Click on the link below to view today’s very short snippet video


Wednesday Afternoon Watch - Spring is in the air… 2/3/16

February 4th, 2016

By Rochester Falcon Watcher Carol P.

Spring is in the air… at least for one day here in Rochester, NY.  Temps made it up to a balmy 59 degrees (F).  While I was downtown on my watch, the street temperature said 56 degrees (F).  The sun was shining and love was in the air for our downtown pair.  Well kind of.  lol

I love this time of year.  February is usually the time we’ll start seeing courtship behavior between our falcons.  When Mariah and Kaver were our downtown pair, February 14th was usually the day that Kaver would return from his migration.  The watchers would gather downtown, hoping for a glimpse of his return.  I remember being there to see his return to the Kodak Tower one year.  Mariah was waiting, and when they were reunited it was awesome to see.  Loud greetings filled the air as they soared together in bonded flight.  It wasn’t long before they renewed their bonds on top of the High Falls stack.  OK, enough reminiscing.  :)

I headed downtown after finding no falcons at the the Brighton Site.  From the Broad St Bridge (BSB), I found Dot.ca on top of the Times Square Bldg (TSB) below the northeast wing.  He was directly above the TSB nest box.

Dot.ca on the Times Sq Bldg -2-3-16

He took off while I was checking out the river, so I didn’t see which direction he took.  From in front of the Radisson, I spotted both Beauty and Dot.ca on the Ellwanger & Barry Bldg (E&B).  Beauty was on the right side ledge with leftovers and Dot.ca was on the left side, keeping an eye on her.

B&DC on E&B Bldg -2-3-16

I found a parking spot across the street from the E&B bldg.  It was very windy there.

Ellwanger & Barry Bldg -2-3-16B&DC on E&B Bldg -2-3-16

DC on E&B Bldg -2-3-16Beauty on E&B Bldg - 2-3-16

A passerby asked me if I was looking at birds and I was happy to explain that he was seeing our resident Peregrine Falcons. I focused on Beauty while she filled her crop with pigeon leftovers.

Beauty on E&B Bldg -2-3-16Beauty on E&B Bldg -2-3-16

Beauty on E&B Bldg -2-3-16Beauty on E&B Bldg -2-3-16

Beauty finished her meal and stepped forward.  That’s when Dot.ca saw his chance to get his share.  He flew over and landed behind her.  After a couple minutes, Beauty took off and Dot.ca followed, carrying a small piece of prey.  Dot.ca took the prey to the northeast box on the Frontier Communication Tower (FCT) and Beauty landed next to him.

Beauty Took Off First -2-3-16B&DC on FCT -2-3-16B&DC on FCT -2-3-16

I got a closer look from the City Hall parking lot.

B&DC on FCT -2-3-16

Dot.ca quickly finished his snack and both he and Beauty took off.  From the Andrews St Bridge (ASB), I found that they had both returned to the Ellwanger and Barry Bldg.  This time Dot.ca was on the right side ledge, looking for leftovers and Beauty was above him on the northeast corner.

Beauty and Dot.ca on the E&B Bldg -2-3-16

This next picture shows the location of the E&B bldg, which is just north of the Powers Bldg.

Powers Bldg Nest Box & E&B Bldg -2-3-16

I found that my parking spot across from E&B was still open.

B&DC on E&B Bldg -2-3-16DC on E&B Bldg -2-3-16B on E&B Bldg -2-3-16

This time I focused on Dot.ca who seemed to come up empty on finding any more leftovers.

DC on E&B Bldg -2-3-16DC on E&B Bldg -2-3-16DC on E&B Bldg -2-3-16

DC on E&B Bldg -2-3-16Beauty on E&B Bldg -2-3-16

Dot.ca took off and flew directly over me.  He turned and headed for Beauty.  She raised her tail as he approached and I witnessed a near miss copulation.  Yes indeed, spring was in the air.  lol

Near Miss Copulation on E&B Bldg 2-3-16

They both took off, and it was time for me to end my downtown falcon watch.

So who are Ellwanger and Barry.  I was curious, so I googled it.  ”George Ellwanger and Patrick Barry were owners of one of the largest nurseries in The Flower City. Ellwanger began the business in 1839 with Thomas Rogers but by 1840 he had bought Rogers out and partnered with Barry who was more knowledgeable than Rogers.”  You can read more about them at RocWiki:


I checked Seneca Towers next and found both Billie and Seth on the north side window ledge.  Sorry for the poor picture.  I was facing the sun at quite a distance.

Billie and Seth at ST -2-3-16

At Medley Center, I found no falcons.  But, there were two adult Red-tailed Hawks flying above the old mall.  I loved watching their aerial ballet.  They both landed in a tree on the other side of Rte 104 and then both left the area heading west.

Red-tailed Hawks at Medley Center -2-3-16Red-tailed Hawks at Medley Center -2-3-16Red-tailed Hawks at Medley Center -2-3-16

It was such a nice day, I decided to check out the Irondequoit Bay.  There were a lot of Ring-billed Gulls floating on what was left of a very large ice flow, which was slowly making its way north, towards the lake (Lake Ontario).  Mixed in were a few Black-backed Gulls.  I saw some Canada Geese and one Cormorant.  No birds of prey were in view.

Ice Flow on IBay -2-3-16Ice Flow on IBay -2-3-16

My watch ended with a quick check at Russell Station, where I found no falcons.  I ended my watch, happy to have seen some courtship behavior by our downtown pair on a mid-winter, spring day.  :)

Morning Falcon Watch 2-3-16

February 3rd, 2016

By Rochester Falcon Watcher MAK

The strong winds were blowing the rain that was falling sideways making for a soggy watch with a warm temperature of 44 (F) 6 (C)

My watch started with Seth on the north window ledge of Seneca Towers. He was facing me and the wind was ruffling his feathers pretty good.


I didn’t stay with him for long as the rain was blowing right at my camera. When I got downtown I made one trip around and as I was about to check the east side again I spotted Beauty flying above Xerox from the Broad St. bridge around 8am.


I wanted to get closer so I drove over to Court St. by the parking garage to observe her. She spent most of the time hovering and riding the strong wind currents. She stooped to the south toward the Cornhill area quickly leaving my field of vision. I went over to the Court St. bridge where I had a more open view and then she showed up over Xerox again. This time I parked on Chestnut St. by the Martin Luther King Jr. park. More hovering with some wing flicks mixed in to give her a fast change of direction and speed.


After about a half hour of flying Beauty eventually went into another stoop on the north side of Xerox where I lost sight of her and she didn’t resurface so I went in search of her. From Bragdon Place next to the north end of the Radisson Hotel I spotted the Beautyful one on the top I-beam northeast side of OCSR and I also could see Dot.ca (DC) up in the elevator shaft on the south ledge.


I hung out with them until about 9am and then left to check the Medley Centre (MC).


As I was crossing the Veteran’s Memorial Bridge I could see Billie up on the north end of the roof eating and Seth below her on the north window ledge of Seneca Towers so I pulled off to check them out before going over to MC.


Feathers were flying fast from the strong wind as Billie plucked them from her prey-I left them after a few minutes and went over to the mall. No falcons seen there so I ended my watch at 9:14 smiling after seeing 4 of my favorite falcons doing just fine in the rainy, wind driven weather! :)

Click on the links below to check out some high flying by Beauty




Tuesday Afternoon Falcon Watch - 2/2/16

February 2nd, 2016

By Rochester Falcon Watcher Carol P.

Another nice, sunny day!

When I arrived at the Brighton Site (BS) location, I found a falcon on the east end of the building.  I quickly parked my car and grabbed for my camera.  While I was waiting for it to turn on, the falcon took off.  I quickly checked around the building, but could not find the falcon.  Larry O had seen it earlier and thought it might have been a female based on size.

My next stop was downtown Rochester.  After circling downtown twice (yes, Rochester is pretty small - lol) I could not find any falcons.  I decided to check the Frontier Communication Tower (FCT) from all sides.  That’s where I found a falcon on the southwest corner of the platform.  Again, I grabbed for my old, slow camera and attempted to get a picture.  Again, the falcon took off, but this time I captured a partial picture.  Pretty sure it was Dot.ca.

Dot.ca Off FCT -2-2-163

Beauty was no where to be found.  Starlings had taken her place on the Mercury statue.

Starlings on Mercury -2-2-16

I found no falcons at Medley Center.  At Seneca Towers I found one falcon home on the north end window ledge.

Falcon at ST -2-2-16

My route home after falcon watching usually takes me along the lake (Lake Ontario) where I check out Charlotte and Russell Station.  I was very happy to find a falcon at Russell Station on the east side stack lowest catwalk.  I was too far away and looking into the sun to tell if it was an adult or juvie.  After a few moments, the falcon stooped low over the buildings then back up to fly between the two smoke stacks.  I lost sight of it behind the west stack.

RS Falcon -2-2-16RS Falcon -2-2-16

RS Falcon -2-2-16RS Falcon -2-2-16

On my drive along the lake shore, I found a huge raft of Long-tailed Ducks.  There were 1,000’s of them out there!  What a great way to end my watch.

Long-tailed Duck Raft on Lake Ontario -2-2-16Long-tailed Duck Raft on Lake Ontario -2-2-16Long-tailed Duck Raft on Lake Ontario -2-2-16

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